SANTA CRUZ -- A Capitola man who shot another man to death in July 2010 was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in prison for second-degree murder.
Judge Paul Burdick denied the defense's request for a new trial in the case of Federico Castillo Lozoya and proceeded to sentencing. He said the verdict was "extremely warranted."
Defense attorney Mandy Tovar had argued that the admission of certain evidence into trial -- namely references to Lozoya's past acquittal on murder charges -- was prejudicial. Burdick disagreed, saying the information was allowed in solely to provide context for statements by two of the prosecution's witnesses.
Lozoya, 46, was convicted of killing Juan Carlos Garcia and shoving his body into the victim's own car, which he then left parked outside Soquel High School. During trial, Lozoya admitted to shooting Garcia but said that it was a case of self-defense. He testified that the two men got into an argument after Lozoya confronted Garcia about rumors that the victim was trading drugs for sex with young girls. Lozoya said Garcia pulled out the gun. Garcia left behind a girlfriend and a young son.
Two of Lozoya's neighbors testified that Lozoya told them before the shooting that he knew a guy who had assaulted a woman and how he planned to take care of him. They also said he had said something about how he had done it before and gotten away with it. That statement, prosecutors said, referred to Lozoya's 1987
Tovar argued that allowing in that evidence cast an unfair cloud over the trial from the start. She plans to file an appeal.
Lozoya was convicted of second-degree murder for Garcia's death. Jurors also found true the special allegation that he had personally discharged a firearm.
In handing down the sentence of 40 years to life, Burdick said that given the testimony, he was somewhat surprised the jurors didn't convict Lozoya of first-degree murder.
"I think Mr. Lozoya received an extremely fair trial," Burdick said.
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